Independent Pursuits: Bridge

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South made a good start in his game contract on this deal and, indeed, achieved a winning end position. However, West found a deceptive defence and - now faced with a guess - declarer got it wrong.

South opened One Heart and, after a pass by West, North raised directly to game to end the auction. West led #Q against Four Hearts and it was immediately clear to declarer that the complete duplication of the North- South distribution would set problems. East overtook his partner's #Q, hoping to be left on lead to push a spade through, but South won, drew trumps in two rounds, cashed 2AK, and exited with #10.

West won with his jack and continued with 2J. East studies this for some while for, superficially at any rate, it looked best to overtake in order to lead a spade. But would that help? Certainly not as the cards lie, for South would play low and West would be end-played. Even if West's spades were as good as A Q x, there was no hurry, for West could get off lead safely with a low spade.

Eventually East allowed his partner to hold the club trick (Lunatic or genius? As SJ Simon once wrote). It looked fatal for the defence but West found the inspired exit of 410! Now, from declarer's point of view, this was just the card that he would have led from 4Q10 8 x (x) or 4K10 8 x (x). Hoping that the lead was from a five-card suit (when East would therefore have 4K x or 4Q x), declarer played low from dummy and, after winning with his ace, got off lead with spade. Oh dear! East was not end-played at all, and West triumphantly took the next two tricks with 4Q and 4K...

East-West game; dealer South


4J 7 4

!Q J 8 5 4

#10 7

2A K 8

West East

4K Q 10 8 46 5 2

!10 !9 6

#Q J 9 8 2 #K 6 5 4

2J 10 6 2Q 9 3 2


4A 9 3

!A K 7 3 2

#A 3

27 5 4